All the hotels operating in Azerbaijan are expected to be licensed until 2015, an Azerbaijani official said.
"Until the First European games, which will be held in Baku in 2015, there should not be any hotels operating without license in Azerbaijan," Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev said on December 18.
The process of issuing licenses to recreation centers and hotels is permanent in Azerbaijan.
"I sign documents related to issuing the license of about three or four hotels and tourist organizations every day. I constantly consider license application documents received directly or on the Internet by the ministry. The situation on the ground is studied, and after about 15 days a decision is made to grant or deny a license," Garayev said.
The ministry aims to increase the number of tourism organizations meeting the necessary standards, Garayev said.
"More than 300 licenses have already been granted in the country for the hotel business," he said.
Garayev also said the owners of tourist facilities in Azerbaijan should set prices for their services in accordance with the country's conditions.
Lower prices for tourist facilities in Georgia should first of all prompt Azerbaijani owners of the tourist agencies to think, he said.
Meanwhile, Garayev noted that the slight increase in the prices of services in tourism facilities is connected with the competition due to New Year's Eve.
There are cases in the world where seasonal service fees of the touristic agencies risse during the holidays, Garayev said
Garayev also noted that the majority of Azerbaijani citizens prefer to rest in their country.
"There is nothing unusual about Azerbaijani citizens going to Georgia, Turkey, Russia, and other countries. This is a completely natural process. That is why we are interested in attracting more tourists to Azerbaijan," he said.
Travel agencies also organize various activities in connection with the New Year's Eve.
"In addition, work is underway on the full activation of the summer and winter tourist complex Shahdag during the new season. New facilities and ski-slopes are currently being built at the complex," he said.
Garayev expressed confidence that all the conditions necessary for winter sports lovers will be created this season.
The share of tourism in the development of the non-oil sector is growing. Over a million tourists visited Azerbaijan in 2013, arriving mostly from Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and European countries.
The number of hotels in Azerbaijan has been on the rise recently, but not all of them have the necessary licenses. About 300 of over 500 operating hotels have obtained licenses in the country.
In order to further the development of tourism, Azerbaijan is expected to participate in some 18 international tourism exhibitions in 2014.